Trending: Jeff Bezos, can you take my return? Inside one of the most unusual Amazon annual meetings ever
Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business

Microsoft is “clearly not as far ahead as Amazon” in convincing startups to use its cloud computing system, but the company is seeing some success in the startup world, says the president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools business.

Satya Nadella, president of the division, addressed the question during a discussion with reporters on the Redmond campus this past week. Amazon has attracted startups in large part through its raw “infrastructure as a service,” which appeals to many startups, whereas Microsoft has focused largely on a higher-level “platform as a service,” before expanding into infrastructure as a service last year.

Startups are a key long-term market for Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others competing in the cloud computing market.

Trying to step up its game, Microsoft partnered with TechStars on a Windows Azure startup accelerator program, graduating 10 startups in January — in areas including app creation tools for restaurant owners, messaging analytics, mobile bill paying, cloud monitoring, sports social networking, and more.

Nadella referenced that program in his response to a question about startups on Azure. Here’s an excerpt …

We’re clearly not as far ahead as Amazon when it comes to the tech startups. We just had a graduating class of Azure startups, which is a thing sponsored by TechStars and Microsoft. It was fantastic to see …. And there’s enough success stories when it comes to startups — especially if you go outside of the zip code of Silicon Valley. You go to Israel, you go to some of the other countries, we have a lot more of a footprint.

We have more work to do in terms of capturing the pure Silicon Valley startups and getting them onto Azure.

If you look at the activity the startups have inside of Amazon, it’s mostly people taking a Linux VM and pushing it. It’s not like they’re using some of the higher-level services. If you compare the activity on SQL Azure, where you’re really not even managing a database, you’re just using a database as a service. That level of platform service is fairly unique to what we have to offer, and there are a lot of startups that are picking that up, and we see good activity.

When it comes to just the base infrastructure as a service, and a startup that just wants to basically have Linux VM hosting, effectively, our we as attractive as Amazon? We have the capability now, which we didn’t have. We are just starting — they had a five year head start on that.

Microsoft last week reduced the numbers of startups on Azure by one — acquiring one of the companies from the Azure accelerator, MetricsHub.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.